Category Archives: Author Interviews

Live in the Moment

Joi Copeland joins me today!

JoiCopeland1 I was sitting at my son’s eighth grade award ceremony this morning, waiting for the program to begin. As I sat there, my mind was racing with all of the things I needed to accomplish today, what the summer was going to hold, and what next year for my three boys would be like.

Then it hit me. I wasn’t living in the moment. I glanced around the auditorium, watching what the other people were doing. Some were on their phones, others were talking with the people sitting next to them. It was sort of an eye-opener for me as I realized what I was doing.

You see, the Bible tells us in James 4:13-16 “Now listen, you who say “today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do this or that.’ “

We can plan out our days, months, years, even. But if we don’t live in the moment, if we don’t give our time to what we are doing, where we are at, we miss out on so much. If I think so much on what I need to do today or tomorrow, I’m missing out on the little things.

Have you ever been sitting somewhere, wishing whatever you were doing would end so you could get on with your day? What about choosing instead, to just be?

This hit me even more on Sunday when I was talking with the Pastor of the 5th and 6th graders at my church. My boys were graduating from that class. I asked her if she was excited for the new students coming in in about two weeks. She said she hadn’t even thought about it because she wanted to live in the moment, to cherish the time she had left with those in her class. She was a true example of living in the moment.

Might I encourage you today, as we go to graduations, spend time with family, friends, plan vacations, and all the sort of things summer will bring, to just live in the moment? Cherish, treasure, and enjoy these times. Because, truly, we are but a mist that appears for a bit, and then disappears.

About this amazing woman:

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She lives in Denver, Colorado, but within the year, hopes to be living in Galway, Ireland.

Joi’s love of writing began at a young age. She wrote short stories for several years, and in 2009, she began writing her first novel, Hope for Tomorrow.

Enter to win her book, Letters of Love, by commenting below.

Joi’s books include:

Hope for Tomorrow, book 1

Hope for the Journey, book 2

Hope from the Past, book 3, April 2013

Letters of Love

Christmas Rayne, a novella

Sheriff Bride Rob’s Story, a novella

Author Linda Shenton Matchett: Love’s Harvest

linda-eLinda Shenton Matchett was a Human Resources professional in the Washington, DC area for twenty-five years before tossing in the towel and moving to NH to operate a Bed and Breakfast. That chapter of her life has closed, and she’s now the Dining Hall and Catering Manager for a boarding school. In her off hours, she serves as a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII. She’s been a freelance writer for over twelve years, but also writes historical fiction. Linda was a semi-finalist in the 2013 and 2015 ACFW Genesis contest. She’s a member of ACFW and Sisters in Crime, and she joins me today to talk about her newest book.

How a great story was born:

I have always been intrigued with the Old Testament story of Ruth. Told with only eighty-five verses, there are missing elements. For several years, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a fictionalization of Ruth, but I wasn’t comfortable writing biblical era stories. Time passed, and the project stayed on the back burner. Last winter when I was asked to consider writing a novella, I knew this was the opportunity to tell Ruth’s story.Love's Harvest CoverWhile studying the book of Ruth in an effort to figure out how to approach the novella, I got to thinking about my childhood and my husband’s. Both of our dads worked for IBM, so our families moved often while we were growing up. I’ve always been outgoing and didn’t have much trouble fitting in at each new location. I usually made friends soon after we arrived. On the other hand, my husband is introverted. The many relocations he experienced were excruciating. Two similar situations-two very different reactions.

I decided to write Ruth’s character from my husband’s point of view – one in which the move was frightening. I modernized the story and chose the WWII era because it gave me the conflict I needed: a German woman relocating to a country that was an enemy of her homeland.

There were lots of questions I wanted to explore with Love’s Harvest. What went into Ruth’s decision to leave her homeland to move to a foreign country? She was widowed at a young age. How young? She was a Moabite. Why would she be willing to marry an Israelite? Why was she willing to give up her religion? She left her country behind to accompany her mother-in-law, Naomi, home. Did Ruth not have any family? If so, why leave them behind? Why was she willing to go with Naomi? Did she have trouble learning the language of her new country? Was she able to fit in? Did she have any regrets?

Then there is Naomi. Not only widowed, she lost both her children. No wonder she became bitter. Yet, she welcomed her daughter-in-law to tag along, and then helped her find a new husband. What about Boaz? He’s also a mystery. We know he was wealthy and a kind and generous man, but there is very little additional information.

The characters in Love’s Harvest deal with grief, loss, forgiveness, and faith. My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” I tried to show that even though Naomi (Noreen) and Ruth (Rosa) suffered great tragedy, they were able to come out on the other side with hope and joy. In the end, God’s plans worked for their good. He can and will do the same for us.

Book Blurb: Love’s Harvest released on April 4, 2016.

Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her?

Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation?

Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money?

Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Enter to win an e-book of Love’s Harvest by leaving a comment!

You can connect with Linda Shenton Matchett at:

Diane Dean White: A Writer’s Journey

Diane White Pic
Diane Dean White: Her Writing Journey

Writing has been an exciting journey, one I started early when I was in 6th grade and asked for a typewriter. I used an old black Royal manual, and found it a great release to type my feelings through poetry and short-stories. In high school, I took creative writing and continued to enjoy it. My dream to become a writer collided with reality and after graduating from business school and attending college; I worked as a secretary for several years at Michigan State University.

God has a way to bring us the desires of our hearts, and I answered an ad in the newspaper and accepted a job as a reporter. My children were young and we had just moved to a southern town. I made child-care arrangements and followed my dream. Well….some of it was dreamy. I loved doing feature stories and interviewing people, but police blotters, city council meetings and hard news didn’t do a lot to advance my creativity.

Returning to Michigan, I continued to do stringer work and ancestral history research, and writing donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations, while raising our three children. I wouldn’t trade those years of activities with the kids for anything. I enjoyed and prayed through every moment! Later they became the foundation for many of my stories…and the memories of those years will last forever.

Once you see your work in print and your by-line…it is something that forever stays with you, and like a flower that blooms year after year, those stories come out. Early in 2000 we’d made a move to South Carolina. Our children were grown and married and I started to write short stories that were released across the World Wide Web. They were fun and serious stories, and suddenly people from all over wrote to thank me, some could relate to my story and shared theirs. For several years I wrote, and many stories were picked up by magazines, books and in 2002 I decided to write a compilation of those stories and in 2004 a novel, Carolina in the Morning came out. Although I self-published and had book signings, television interviews, I loved going from our home to Charleston, SC to do research. I wasn’t part of a writing group at this time and didn’t know POV, back-story, weasel words…I knew how to tell a story because to date they’d all been short stories, and you tell a short story. In 2005, I started writing a weekly column for a Michigan-based magazine and continued to enjoy that until the bug hit me to do another novel. On a Summer Night was in the process when I joined ACFW and the Scribes. I proudly laid my chapters out for anyone to critique, and had a big awakening!! I was red-lined and my pages bled like crazy! I was insulted, embarrassed and hurt that people would say such things about my writing. I’d been published in many anthologies, books and magazines, including Japan. But, I wanted to rectify my writing problems and tried to grow tough skin (not always easy!) Thank goodness for the friends I made and those who went the extra mile to help me. I found I enjoyed critiquing others stories, and tried to be gentle with the authors, knowing how some authors came across to me!

Since then I’ve written several other books and my new book, This Side of Heaven is my favorite to date! I went through a roller coaster of emotions while dealing with what I felt God wanted portrayed in this small rural area of Georgia. Remember, we’d lived in Georgia in the late 70’s and I had many hidden feelings to share at some point. And although fiction, I found myself writing to music that brought tears that wouldn’t stop, rewriting to be sure I said what I felt God wanted portrayed, and enjoyed the romance between my lead characters, but also with an older aunt who reconnects with a former beau and an autumn romance blooms.

I think for many of us a story is something we have to write, whether for publication or self-satisfaction, but it’s in us and has to be lived out—to be seen in print. Each writer is different and we all take a different path on this journey to publication. Seek our Lord’s guidance above all things with the words you write. Regardless, your book genre—He’s the ultimate publisher and writer of your soul.

Check out Diane’s newest book, This Side of Heaven.

ThisSideofHeaven12- Diane D White“Only one more hurdle, and they were free to fall in love.”

Darlene arrives in rural Georgia with her two preschoolers to escape an abusive marriage. In hiding, the family struggles to adjust to a secretive life among the pecan trees and gardenias. Then comes an unexpected visit from a neighbor.

Detective Brett Gafee is married to his job and his community, and heir to large pecan orchards. Expectations of a loving relationship dwindle over the years, and he sets aside all thoughts of marriage. Then he introduces himself to Darlene.

Was it fate or the Lord that brought them together?

Darlene’s secret past keeps her at bay from both Brett and her feelings. Can she be true to her heart and to Brett? When the truth comes out, will Brett pick up the pieces, or will he walk away?

Enter to win a free e-book of This Side of Heaven by leaving a comment below!